Trash Talk in MMA Doesn't Demean or Belittle the Sport

Nedu ObiAnalyst IIFebruary 13, 2012

Photo courtesy of
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While some may deem trash talking in MMA as unseemly, demeaning or belittling of the sport with regards to how it’s perceived by the public in general, the fact of the matter is it in no way casts a negative light on professional mixed martial arts.

If anything, from time to time, it’s par for the course.

Albeit there have been certain fighters who, on occasion, have gone way over the top with their trash talking—one example being Rashad Evan’s inappropriate remarks (Penn State pedophilia case) to Phil Davis. However, such comments reflect badly on the individual and not the sport.

Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest sporting icons of our era; he practically had the copyrights to trash talking. Everyone else that has followed his trajectory has been trying to play catch-up with the “Louisville Lip.”

Was the art of the sweet science demeaned or belittled by Ali’s antics? Did it suffer as a result of his sometimes overly vociferous outbursts? The answer to both questions is no.

Pugilism may be on a downward spiral. However, if it were ever to hit below rock bottom, then the blame would lie solely with boxing’s politics and everything else that is indicative of its fall from grace.

The same applies to professional wrestling—the fanzines thrive off the verbal jousting that emanates from such magniloquent orators as The Rock and CM Punk.

Have their vocal misdemeanors belittled the WWE in anyway? I believe not.

Now take a look at some of MMA’s coterie of smack talkers—Quinton Jackson, Nick Diaz and Chael Sonnen. They are some of the sport’s most polarizing figures who give the sport that extra added oomph, which sometimes is a prerequisite from sales points of view.

Uncle Chael reigns supreme over the MMA stratosphere apropos trash talking, and yet no matter how crude and rude he may come across, we just can’t seem to get enough of him.

Degrading? More like entertaining.

Conversely, even though some fighters like Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre may do their talking in the steel cage, it’s the Sonnens and the Diazes that have us glued to the television set, browsing the Internet and every other media outlet just to get the scoop on their latest outrageous rants.

If smack talking was debasing to MMA, I believe FOX would’ve mentioned it before signing the UFC to a long-term contract.

And on the subject of the Zuffa-based promotion, its head honcho, Dana White, is one of the biggest trash talkers going. So does he belittle the sport?

It’s time to put things into perspective—MMA is an ever-growing sport and at present, most of its publicity is good publicity. If anything tarnishes, demeans or belittles the sport, then that finger has to be pointed in the direction of the athletes that continue to fail drug tests.

Though, with that in mind, if there was ever case made for trash talking lowering the tone of the sport, then it would have to be the fighter’s inability to walk the walk come fight night, and that’s about it.

As the idiom goes—one man’s meat is another man’s poison—some feel trash talking lacks propriety in the MMA whilst others don’t. I’m with the latter.

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